Sometimes I wonder what we are doing here. My wife and I love living in a small town. There are a number of inconveniences but we know how to deal with most of those. But the new ones that come with the oil boom (increase in crime, traffic, inbred meth addicts) do tend to grate. A few weeks ago some tool tried to break into the garage. They tried using the old garage door opener which only moves the chain but doesn’t lift the door. To open the door you have to just lift from the bottom but they didn’t figure that out. Now I have new garage door openers installed and now it would take a very industrious thief to get in. Every night I check all the locks on the house once the cats are in. The days of unlocked doors that my parents lived in have flown away.
It is also jarring how RED this part of the country has become. North Dakota has always been somewhat conservative but it was a conservatism balanced with common sense and compassion, more Eisenhower than Reagan. This corner of the state even used to be a bit insurgent. The old Non-Partisan League was founded north of here and the Farmers Union had a massive presence. But after twenty years of being fed nothing but Faux News and angry talk radio, the tide has somewhat turned. I can hold my own in an argument but I’m not the type of person itching for a fight, unlike a lot of the conservative around here. Still, I long for the days when we could go into a cafe or coffee shop and not get barraged by an onslaught of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.
There are pockets of blue in the American West, especially along the front range of the Rockies, from Whitefish MT to Santa Fe NM. I’ve thought of where we could live that would be more comfortable, both in terms of peace of mind and neighbors we have something in common with. But my wife would rather die than leave this state. Driving out to the farm to bask in the sound of just wind blowing across the long grass while the meadowlarks sing does as much for her as a full bottle of SSRIs. So we will stay on the prairie, content with a small circle of like-thinking family and friends, keeping in touch with a wider blanket of friendship to the east, and enjoying each other’s company. When the winter comes we’ll binge on DVDs, Netflix, and football (well, that’s more me), playing board games or reading. So maybe the message is you can be happy anywhere as long as you come to terms with what really makes you happy and you do it. It’s taken a long time for me to figure that out. Now and then I need a reminder. I’ll consider this post one of those.